Tina G Lee is a freelance creative and owner of No More Ugly Camera Bags based in Sydney. We chat with Tina about her passion for photography, the importance of a kick-ass hero image and why she is determined to rid the world of ugly camera bags…
How did you first get started in photography and why do you photograph?
My dad got me my first Canon DSLR when I was 16 and, when I first clicked that shutter button and heard that sound, I fell in love with it. It wasn’t until I started my graphic design career five years ago that I took photography more seriously; I wanted to learn more about the art and to create images with emotion and impact. Graphic design taught me how important a good hero image is. It can make or break your artwork and is your vehicle to communicating the message and telling the story. Without a kick-ass hero image to marry quality graphics with, it makes the job more difficult. (This is when it really calls on your creativity!). I photograph because I love the feeling it gives you when you see the final image – whether it is a curiosity to want to know more about the story or message, the feeling of sadness, nostalgia, or awe. The way one still image captured in a moment of time can make you feel so many different emotions amazes me. And that’s what I want to do in my photography – make you feel something inside.
Graphic design taught me how important a good hero image is. It can make or break your artwork and is your vehicle to communicating the message and telling the story. Without a kick-ass hero image to marry quality graphics with, it makes the job more difficult.
Who or what are your main sources of inspiration?
I’m obsessed with collecting every fashion lookbook or catalogue I see. Fashion photography is inspiring for me because it is such a big industry and so competitive; fashion shoots are happening left, right and centre so I admire the creativity when a brand is pushed to do something different. My other sources of inspiration are magazines like Cereal and The Smith Journal. I get a shiver just stroking the paper stock. I’m a designer, I get excited over paper, don’t judge! And, of course, Instagram – although I try not to get sucked into the endless scroll of doom.
Which single image are you most proud of and why?
I’d have to say when I shot the dancers of The Australian Ballet at the Sydney Opera House. Although I’m far from savvy when it comes to dance, I’ve learnt to appreciate and respect the art-form of ballet. The amount of training they do is crazy and the sport is so physically demanding but what I find the most humbling is how they love what they do. I was very grateful to have been able to document their passion.
What would be your dream photography assignment?
Travelling to Iceland, staying there for a month and just shooting, shooting, shooting…
I want to change the way travellers and photographers travel with their camera and to inspire people to travel more and create more.
You are also owner of No More Ugly camera bags; how did this come about and where do you want to take it?
I travel to Hong Kong quite often to visit my family and we’d always go on family holidays when I was younger. I wanted to bring my DSLR everywhere but I struggled to find a nice-looking camera bag that I could travel with. I refused to lug the black canvas velcro strappy camera bag with me. I even put my camera in a beanie for while. Then I discovered these beautiful camera satchels while I was in Hong Kong and questioned why there weren’t any in Australia. So I made it my mission to rid the world of ugly camera bags. Hence No More Ugly Camera Bags was born. I want to change the way travellers and photographers travel with their camera and to inspire people to travel more and create more. I see No More Ugly Camera Bags as the go-to brand for stylish camera bags in the future with a promise of quality and affordability.
What is next for you? Are you working on any photographic projects that you can tell us about?
I’m dabbling in the world of cinemagraphs at the moment. A cinemagraph is like a still photograph with a small subtle movement looping seamlessly. Its like a photograph that is alive. I love the whole process of coming up with a concept, filming and creating them on Photoshop. It’s so much fun. You should check out some great cinemagraphs at http://www.cinemagraphs.com. I don’t have any specific photography projects coming up but my goal is to come up with creative and inspiring campaigns for No More Ugly Camera Bags.
See more of Tina’s work at:
All images copyright Tina G Lee.